Project Overview

Four Simple Steps

Project Starter Kit

Project Description

The Earth Day Groceries Project is an activity that promotes environmental awareness in a school and its community. It is a free activity that thousands of schools around the world will be involved in on Earth Day, April 22, 2017. The basic idea is this: a school obtains large paper grocery bags from a local grocery store, students at the school decorate the bags with colorful environmental messages, the bags are returned to the store, and the store hands them out (filled with groceries) to shoppers on Earth Day.

There is no cost for doing this project, but there are some arrangements to be made ahead of time. The single most important contact is with the manager of a local grocery store. A person at the school (principal or designee) should contact the grocer well in advance and ask for the loan of a "bundle" (that's 500) of large paper grocery bags.

Once the contact has been made and the bags received, one person or committee should coordinate the effort for the school or classrooms that will be involved in decorating the bags. This is where part of the excitement and education really begins, as students decide what kind of environmental message and artwork they would like to have on some shopper's grocery bag for Earth Day.

Delivering the bags to the store can be made into a field trip for a classroom or small student group. This is also a great opportunity to alert the local media. Many schools have reported positive TV, radio, and newspaper coverage of the event.

There is a World Wide Web site coordinating this project. The Earth Day Groceries Project is one of the oldest and largest educational activities on the Internet. The web site began as part of Arbor Heights Elementary School, operated as a nonprofit organization for a few years, and is now maintained by sponsor donations.

The last piece of a school's participation is for someone at the school to submit a report on the project web site. The  school's report will then be listed along with hundreds of others who have participated. This year, 2017, is the twenty-fourth year this project has been coordinated on the Internet! Every report from the first ten years, from high schools to kindergarten classes, is archived at the web site. There are also pictures from many schools showing some of their students involved in the project.

(since 2009, the project has been unable to host pictures from schools)

The web site address is:, and the project coordinator is Mark Ahlness: - Please feel free to visit the web site or email for more information. We hope your school can participate in 2017! Happy Earth Day!

Mark Ahlness
Retired teacher
Seattle, Washington